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Rated: E · Fiction · Fantasy · #2320438
A brief introductory scene for a character in a WIP short story.
Harris The Doorstop (WIP)

Harris was just shy of six feet tall, with sandy-brown hair that seemed to have a mind of its own — a very disorganised mind of its own. Preferring a horizontal life to a vertical one, he often found himself looking for somewhere to lie down, ideally away from other people. He was happiest when staring out the window, lost in thought. Small talk, his arch-nemesis, drained his social battery at an alarming rate. Solitude brought him peace, but he found that the more he sought to be alone, the more he attracted people, like some kind of human magnet. He frequently wondered how to reverse the magnet’s pole without taking drastic measures like ignoring personal hygiene or eating lots of fish.

Some people look at how common folk live and think there has to be more to life. Harris, on the other hand, wanted less. A bit of food and shelter was enough. A quiet spot to sit and read was luxury.

When looking for employment, he stumbled into a job that seemed to exist just for him. The City Guard were hiring for the lowest position amongst their ranks, a position informally known as ‘a Doorstop’. Doorstops had the important role of, on a moment’s notice, standing outside any area deemed ‘off limits’ and, until released, turning people away. You got a hat, too, with an exclamation mark embroidered in gold thread on top.

Harris excelled as a Doorstop magnificently. His was the first name that came up when a particularly remote and boring opportunity came in for the Doorstoppers. The more backwater and isolated, the better, as far as he was concerned.

In springtime, he found himself out in the sticks, guarding one of the King’s rum stores. The King had barrels of rum buried under funny-shaped trees all over the country. Access to rum is essential for ruling a kingdom benevolently, according to The Second Rule of Ruling from the King’s most recent autobiography, Meditations on Kingliness.

A gentle breeze rustled the pages of Harris’s copy of Meditations as he took a deep breath and settled down for another long day.

He felt a strange sensation pushing into the sole of his right boot. Upon further inspection, it appeared that the sand underfoot was forming a little mound, out of which a crab popped up.

“Sorry, friend,” said Harris. “This tree is out of bounds to the public, as per official… er… royal business.” He plucked the crab out of its hole and gave it an encouraging nudge. “Off you pop.” It scuttled over to a nearby patch of shade and spent the rest of the morning staring at Harris through beady-black eyes.

By the time the afternoon sun had reached its zenith, the crab had gone, and Harris had made the executive decision that, based on the fact that he’d been posted out there for over a month and the only living creature he’d come across was a single crab, it was probably safe to take an afternoon nap.

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